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Colburn prepares for addition

The downtown L.A. music school plans to break ground in 2005 for an $80-million building to house three new post-secondary degree programs.

October 14, 2003|Diane Haithman | Times Staff Writer

As the Oct. 23 opening of Walt Disney Concert Hall approaches, its neighbor across Grand Avenue, the Colburn School of Performing Arts, is preparing to break ground in early 2005 for an $80-million addition to its existing $26-million building.

Colburn School Executive Director Joseph J. Thayer says that, although the building has been in the planning stages for five years, the expansion fits into joint city-county plans to create a "cultural corridor" on Grand Avenue as part of a downtown Los Angeles redevelopment plan.

The building, scheduled to be completed by spring 2007, will provide expanded academic, rehearsal and library space on its lower floors as well as a cafeteria.

Seven floors of student dormitory housing will occupy the upper floors.

The structure will accommodate the needs of the school's three new post-secondary degree programs: a four-year bachelor of music program as well as artists diploma and professional studies certificate programs.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 15, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 65 words Type of Material: Correction
Colburn School -- An article on the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Tuesday's Calendar incorrectly stated that the tuition and room and board cost for the school's new bachelor of music program is $80,000 to $100,000 for four years; the correct figure is $45,000 per year. Also, the photo of the model for the school's planned addition should have been credited to Foaad Farah.

The 229,000-square-foot facility will go up directly behind the existing Colburn School in an area occupied by a parking lot and bounded by Second Street on the north, Olive Street on the east and Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko Way on the south.

"We will use the existing building to accommodate the first two or three years of the program. How quickly we can grow prior to the opening of the new building we don't know," Thayer said.

He added that the school hopes to see increased "synergy" between it and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Disney Hall.

The Colburn Chamber Orchestra of pre-college students is slated to perform at Disney Hall in February, and Colburn's new cafeteria will be open to the public, including the Philharmonic musicians across the street.

The bachelor of music program began in September with 16 students -- 15 string players and one pianist. According to what school officials call a "systematic ramp-up plan," the school will add 20 more pianists in the second year, with winds, brass and percussion in the third year.

When enrollment is complete, the student body will constitute a full 90-piece orchestra plus 21 pianists.

A small group of voice students will be added later. Students will be required to live on campus.

The curriculum expansion will be paid for by donations from its main benefactor, businessman and music lover Richard D. Colburn. Students admitted to the degree programs will receive full tuition as well as room and board, which school officials estimate will total $80,000 to $100,000 for a four-year degree.

The school already offers music education programs to primary and secondary school students.

Violinist Lindsay Deutsch, who has attended the Colburn School since ninth grade, is among the first 16 students in the bachelor of music program. She says the free tuition, as well as the chance to continue studying with her current instructor, Robert Lipsett, encouraged her to remain at Colburn rather than attend a university music program.

"There's nothing else like this. It's incredible," she said.

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